Traveling for a living, I get to listen to a lot of music. A lot. Whether I'm in a rental car or on an airplane, I always have something going. Here are my top 10 albums of the year. There are a lot of lists floating around online this time of year, but these were my favorites.
10. Jeezy - Seen It All: The Autobiography
Jeezy just brought it here. Same lyrical content that we've heard from Jeezy before, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The highlights here are the JAY Z assisted 'Seen It All' and August Alsina crooning over the chorus of 'Fuck The World'.
9. Mac Miller - Faces
No one has progressed musically as much as Miller in the past few years. Watching Movies with the Sound Off was one of my favorite albums last year and his live album was amazing as well. Faces runs a bit long, but with a bit of trimming in iTunes, this becomes one of the best albums of the year. He's doing what he wants with his music, and it's great.
8. YG - My Krazy Life
The quintessential West Coast album of 2014. Love him going over a sample Tha Dogg Pound used on 'Do It To Ya'. Other highlights include 'Sorry Momma' and of course, 'My Nigga' - this first radio hit off of MKL.
7. Kevin Abstract - MTV1987
This newcomer from Texas really impressed me with MTV1987. His synth-laden beats (all provided by Romil) leak inspiration from Kid Cudi, but catchier. The fact that he's only 17 has me excited for how he could progress. Check out 'DRUGS' or 'Tame Cab' if you want a taste.
6. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2
Look at any end of the year 'best of' list, and RTJ2 will be there. It's not by accident. El-P's production here is incredible, and Killer Mike takes advantage. Zach de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine comes through with a killer feature ("RUN THE JEWELS FAST RUN THE RUN THE JEWELS FAST") and Travis Barker shines on some drums on 'All Due Respect'.
5. Asher Roth - Retrohash
If you haven't given Retrohash a listen, I think it deserves one. It's catchy and it's fun. It's got some really great features (Curren$y, Vic Mensa, Chuck Inglish) and Roth shows he's still very technically proficient with his lyrics. My favorite tracks on here are 'Something For Nothing' and 'Fast Life'.
4. Rittz - Next To Nothing
I had definitely been sleeping on Rittz. I listened to this for the first time while I was stuck in traffic, and for once, I didn't care. Whether he's talking about socially relevant topics ('Living a Dream') or just alcohol ('Crown Royal'), he keeps things interesting.
3. Big K.R.I.T. - Cadillactica
The self-proclaimed 'King of the South' might be just that now. K.R.I.T. does it all here - writes, raps and produces. His reponse to Kendrick's 'Control' verse on 'Mount Olympus' is damn near legendary. My favorite parts of Cadillactica are Jamie N. Common's hook on 'Saturdays = Celebration', 'Soul Food', the smoothest track on here, and of course, when he buries 'Control'. 'King of the South' houses my favorite lines - "Fuck 'em. Fuck 'em. Fuck 'em, fuck 'em. I said it six times cause it's my pleasure, say it one more time just for good measure, fuck 'em."
2. QuESt - Searching Sylvan
The fact that this was free is incredible. QuESt has crafted an album around a story here, and everything just fits. If you want a comparison, I feel like he's a Lupe Fiasco/Kendrick Lamar hybrid. This isn't his first project, but in my opinion it's his strongest. The beat switch on Automatic is insane. My favorite track on here is Biscayne Blvd.
1. Logic - Under Pressure
I have been listening to Logic's free stuff for a while now, and while strong, I never thought it was extraordinary. Under Pressure is different. From the opening keys (the same piano riff from Kanye's 'Bound 2' to the five minute close, there's not one skippable track here. "But I'm not defined by the sales of my first week, cause in my mind the only way I fail, if my verse weak" he delivers through the intro, and it shows that he believes that. People say he hasn't found his own style yet, like he's copying J. Cole or Kendrick, but honestly, I don't care. It's good music. You've probably heard Buried Alive, but my favorite track here (and it's hard to choose) is Bounce.
Honorable Mentions: Iamsu! - Sincerely Yours, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Pinata, Skyblew - Journeys in 1st Person, Wiz Khalifa - Blacc Hollywood, Childish Gambino - Kauai